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The Key Studio Sessions: The Weaks

When they were both players in the dearly departed Philly indie pop collective Dangerous Ponies, singer-guitarists Evan Bernard and Chris Baglivo cooked up The Weaks as as writing exercise of sorts. The goal was a song a week, and though the schedule didn’t totally shake out that way, the first of their two Bandcamp pages quickly filled up with a huge variety of super-catchy singles – some were raw and lo-fi, others were polished and poppy; some were gruff 70s-style rockers, other were hard hitting jams reminiscent of the alt-rock 90s. Over time the project became a real-world band, and earlier this year its debut EP The World Is A Terrible Place and I Hate Myself and Want to Die was released on local label Lame-O Records. The record is a total stew of everything that’s loud and fun and thrilling about rock and roll – guitar harmonies and wild solos, counterpoint vocals and searing screams, slamming drumbeats and total infectiousness.

For their Key Studio Session, The Weaks played two songs from the forthcoming full-length they’re releasing on Lame-O, and you’ll hear undeniable hints of Weezer, Cheap Trick, Smashing Pumpkins and any variety of other popular faves. Bernard tells me that writing for for albums or EPs isn’t tremendously different from writing for the ongoing project. Basically, he and Baglivo just crank out songs at different paces – him more spontaneous and explosive, Baglivo more meticulous and crafted. When it’s time for a release, they pick the best of what’s ready to go. Of the 30-plus unreleased songs they’ve got in their repertoire right now, 11 will be on the LP, and the rest will be parsed out in the ongoing semi-weekly releases – which, when you think in terms of numbers, that’s a pretty impressive output. Stream and download this week’s Key Studio Session with the band below, and to take in The Weaks live – the lineup is nicely rounded out by bassist Corey Bernard, guitarist Austin Jefferson and drummer Mike Tashjian (another former Dangerous Pony) – set your sights on new NoLibs venue Bourbon and Branch on Friday night, where they’ll appear on the Sounds for Sustainability showcase.

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Diarrhea Planet at The Barbary, Lantern at Bourbon and Branch

Photo via | https://www.facebook.com/DiarrheaPlanet
Photo via | https://www.facebook.com/DiarrheaPlanet

Tonight The Barbary welcomes punk six-piece Diarrhea Planet.  The band is currently on tour and will play a set on Saturday (6/7) at the Governor’s Ball Music Festival.  You can find tickets for the all ages show here.

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Dreamy psych-rockers Weekender are playing a wad of summer shows

weekender
Weekender | photo courtesy of the artist

Philly psych-pop band Weekender prove there ain’t no rest for the wicked. After headlining Kung Fu Necktie last night, the fuzzy dreampop  outfit is playing a slew of shows in Philly this summer, including local stops at Bourbon and Branch May 31, KFN June 11, the Firefly Festival in Delaware June 22, and then closing out at The Fire June 27.  With pop beats, cutting riffs and droning guitars, Weekender is an ideal summer soundtrack.The band has promised a follow-up album to 2013′s EP Spanish Peaks this summer, but no word yet on a date. In the mean time, check out their very psychedelic Off the Avenue live session in Savannah, Georgia below.

 

 

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: A.M. Mills at Ortliebs, Dawn Hiatt at Tin Angel, The Warhawks at Kung Fu Necktie and more

Photo courtesy of the artist
Photo courtesy of the artist

Philly singer-songwriter A.M. Mills celebrated Record Store Day at AKA Music and tonight he plays at Ortlieb’s. Last month, he released a stellar track titled “Wreckin’ My World” which has a ’70s California-rock ballad feel to it (think Tom Petty). It’s simple, melodic and feels good all around. Check it out below and get tickets here.

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Nickel Creek at Tower Theater, Matt Pond PA at Underground Arts, Nels Cline at Johnny Brenda’s

Photo by Brantley Gutierrez

Acoustic folk trio Nickel Creek are riding high on the success of their new album A Dotted Line, which arrived last month and coincided with their 25th anniversary as a band. Tonight they bring the excitement to the Tower Theater stage. Mostly folk but at times leaning toward bluegrass, their music, which rests on the band’s intricate musicianship and harmonies, has a raw quality that’s soulful at heart. Watch them perform “Rest Of My Life” live on Soundcheck below and get tickets here.

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: M.I.A. at Tower Theater, Gliss at Kung Fu Necktie, Woods at Boot and Saddle, and more

Photo via facebook.com/miauk
Photo via facebook.com/miauk

Tonight, M.I.A. graces the Tower Theater stage and fans (old and new) should, as always, expect a little bit of everything from the singer-songwriter’s genre-bending music. On her latest album Matangi, it’s clear that her sound is still a hybrid of electronic, pop, hip-hop and world music. Best known for her 2007 platinum hit “Paper Planes”, M.I.A. isn’t a traditional singer or rapper; she’s crafted a style that’s somewhere in between and it’s infectious. Watch “Y.A.L.A.” below and get tickets here

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Kings of the Jungle: Talking passion and relentless pursuits with Night Panther

Night Panther
Night Panther

There are many words that come to mind the first time you hear Night Panther. One of those words is almost certainly “sexy.” There’s something so sultry about their particular blend of elements—the smooth, almost lackadaisical beats, the falsetto vocals dripping with honey—that immediately transports you to another time and place: somewhere with cabarets and crushed velvet and massively indulgent fur coats. Night Panther don’t just make sex-pop; they seem to effortlessly embody its form.

2013 was a big year for the band. They placed second in The Deli Philly’s annual poll of top emerging local bands, and their single “Fever” was named best local tune of 2013 by yours truly. This April, they’ll be residents at new NoLibs venue Bourbon & Branch, playing every Friday with a slew of awesome supporting acts. The buzz behind their name alone should be enough to put the new spot on the map.

Indeed, it seems like success comes easy to these fur-clad crooners…and in some ways, it does. But in another sense, it’s been a long time coming. The tune “Fever,” I soon find out, was written about 8 years ago when front man Farzad Houshiarnejad was playing in another band, but was shelved because it didn’t fit their sound at the time. Since then, it’s gone through years of revisions (and one previous release under the little-known “Captain Dum Dum” moniker) before being recorded for their self-titled LP in 2011. It was released in 2013.

“We’ve been working on these songs for years,” says drummer Mike Cammarata over drinks at Doylestown staple Maxwell’s on Main. “Even when we were involved with past projects, this was always something we had on the back burner.”

hanging with Night Panther outside Maxwell's on Main (photo via Instagram)
hanging with Night Panther outside Maxwell’s on Main (photo via Instagram)

Actually, the whole band’s been together for years. Houshiarnejad and Cammarata have roots in Doylestown act Drink Up Buttercup, a zany, oompah-inspired garage-punk project whose thrilling bashing and Man Man-esque melodies won them props in the mid 2000’s. Keyboardist/guitarist Chris Radwanski was the manager for Drink Up, and they all lived together in a big, sprawling house in downtown D-town, with a recording studio in the basement.

So when that band dissolved, they naturally continued tinkering, and formed Night Panther soon after. (Their live line-up also includes singer-keyboardist Kelly Kurteson and bassist Jon Anderson, who is not the guy from Yes).

“When we first started out, everything was about being sexy,” says Houshiarnejad. “I’m very anal about our image. I care a lot about how things look.” Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Tinariwen at Prince Music Theater, The Sound of Animals Fighting at Trocadero, Tutlie at Bourbon and Branch

Tinariwen | photo by Marie Planeille
Tinariwen | photo by Marie Planeille

Desert-bred rockers Tinariwen will bring their eclectic mix of guitar rock and African rhythms to the Prince Music Theater stage tonight. Due to civil unrest in Mali, the band recorded their latest album Emmaar far away from home in California, an experience that heavily influenced the recording process and final product. Watch “ISLEGH TAGHRAM TIFHAMAM” from the new album below and get tickets here.

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Groove to three new songs from Night Panther on the Kiss EP

NightPantherPhilly-via-Doylestown electro pop crew Night Panther is gearing up for a busy spring. After cementing a reputation as a killer live act and seducing regional audiences through both cinematic music videos and alluring “sex pop” (as they prefer to call it) from their 2013 self-titled LP, the band just rolled out a handful of new jams this weekend via Soundcloud.

The Kiss EP is sensual as ever, but tones down the spaced-out atmospheres in favor of more direct hooks and bigger beats – which is a totally promising evolution. Check it out below, and see Night Panther’s first Philly show in a couple months on Friday, April 4th at the new Northern Liberties bar / venue Bourbon and Branch. They perform with Nicos Gun, Purples and DJ Bij Lincs of Ground Up fame; more information on the show can be found here.

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Feel the “Sky in Your Bones” with Tutlie’s sparkly new tune

Photo via facebook.com/tutlie
Photo via facebook.com/tutlie

West Chester’s Tutlie have a sound that’s airy, delicate, and light as a feather. Their new single “Sky in Your Bones” is a simple delight and a solid introduction to their upcoming debut album Young Cries (due March 21st). But there’s an open-ended twist as they sing: “you mean nothing to me”. Join Tutlie for their album release show at a new space in Northern Liberties, Bourbon and Branch, on March 21st. Stay tuned for more details on tickets.

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